The Spirit of the Season


A writer from the Chicago Tribune has some tips for visiting dog owners. Clarion PUPS had a special delivery earlier this month. Skye’s Spirit Wildlife Rehabilitation Center is racing against the clock to raise funds and other rescues received Christmas gifts.

Visiting tips for dog owners and their guests during the holidays

By Cheryl Stritzel McCarthy, Chicago Tribune

Even if you’re looking forward to visiting relatives this holiday season, you may not be happy about visiting their dog. How can you make your entry through a relative’s front door more joyful and less jump-filled?

There are 78 million pet dogs in the country, according to the American Pet Products Association, so your chances of encountering one are high.

Stanley Coren, professor emeritus of psychology at the University of British Columbia, dog trainer and author, offers tips to guests and hosts on managing the average family pet. (Aggressive dogs should be sequestered elsewhere before guests arrive.)

Most pets have received some training, though not much, Coren says. But the basic command is the most useful. “If the dog is jumping, the simplest thing is to say, ‘Sit.’ That usually calms things down.”

Coren offers this to guests:

**Move more slowly. Imagine the dog’s point of view, seeing people pouring through the door and flipping off coats. Quick movements can excite or be interpreted as a threat.

**Be aware of where the dog is. If you back up and tread on a dog’s tail, it’s not a good start.

**Keep small children close to you and calm. Squealing just ratchets up the dog’s excitement. You don’t want toddlers running, because the dog will chase them.

**If a dog is frantic, fold your hands in front of you and stand still. It’s a trick we use when we’re bite-proofing kids. We call it Be a Tree: Fold your branches and stare at your roots. No eye contact. You’re not moving. You’re no longer a threat.

**Have treats in your pocket. Treats are effective. When you encounter the dog, tell it to sit, and follow it up with a little treat. That makes the dog happy to see you. A goldfish cracker, or a thumbnail-size piece of regular cracker, will do if you don’t have dog treats. If the dog has allergies, the host will say so.

**Children should ask before they approach a dog. It’s polite, as well as safer.

**Don’t reach your open hand toward a dog’s head. That can be seen as a threat. If you’re going to approach the dog, close your fingers into a fist and let him sniff your hand. Touch the dog’s chest, then slide your hand up over its head.

If you’re the host, Coren advises:

**Let visitors know beforehand that you have a dog. I tell visitors the barking they might hear is from a dog 12 inches high and not to panic.

**Keep treats near the door. When guests come, I put dogs into a sit. I hand the people a treat and tell them, his name is Ranger, tell him to sit and give him a treat.

**That greeting is nicer than shaking his paw. With repetition, it teaches your pets not to go ballistic at the doorbell.

**If you’re worried, don’t let dogs near the door. Put them elsewhere. After I’ve greeted everyone and the dogs have heard the voices, the dogs can come in and greet. Or, bring the people to meet them.

A dog is like a human 2-year-old, Coren says. “The controls you put on toddlers work with dogs. You wouldn’t let a toddler barrel through the door at the nearest visitor. Most people are not dog experts, but they’ve encountered enough toddlers to know what works.”

Holiday dinners

Should your dog hang around the dinner table? Opinions differ, even among experts. Coren lets his two dogs stay present.

He puts them in a down-stay, and rewards them with a tiny treat. “They know if they hold that, they’ll get a little bit of something at the end of the meal, but they don’t get anything during.

“Also, I feed the dogs before people eat, so they’re not frantic,” he said.

If you’re quite worried, he said, “keep the dogs in a different zone.” Coren sometimes removes his two to the gated-off kitchen or his office. “The dogs are familiar with both places, and if I really want them out of traffic, I put them there.”

December delivery


Lolita and her puppies

Clarion PUPs posted on its Facebook page about puppies that were born to Lolita on Dec. 23. The rescue followed with an update on Christmas Eve.

“Merry Christmas Eve from momma Lolita and her six little elves (from left to right) Mistletoe (boy), Peppermint Patty (girl), Chocolate Chip (boy), Sugar Cookie (girl), Snickerdoodle (boy) and Candy Cane (girl),” the post said.

The rescue also later posted a Momma dog wish list.

“We need newspapers, better quality canned food, antibacterial wipes, paper towels, laundry detergent and bleach. If you can donate please message us which item or items,” the rescue posted.

More information about PUPS is available by calling (814) 764-5580 or by emailing

Racing the clock

Skye’s Spirit Wildlife Rehabilitation Center in Harrisburg is racing against the clock to raise funds for a goal match that ends Saturday, Dec. 31.

“We’re so far from our goal. I wish I knew what more to do to encourage everyone to help these beautiful animals we care for…We need these funds to get prepared for baby season which is only 3 months away,” the center posted on its Facebook pages.

People may help online at or mail to SSWRC, 889 Farren Surrena Road, Harrisville, Pa. 16038.

More information about the center may be found online at The center can be reached by phone at (814) 786-9677.

Nothing but love



Clarion PAWS in Shippenville posted about Mario.

“Mario is one of the few cats still looking for a home from our Fourth Avenue relocation project. His ear may be tipped, and he may have scarring on his eye from his time outside but this sweet boy is still very handsome. He can be shy but once he warms up he will show you nothing but love,” the rescue said.

Clarion PAWS is located at 11348 Route 322, Shippenville, Clarion River Hill, between Scrap Happy and Clarion Electric. The adoption center is open from 5 to 7 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays and from 1 to 4 p.m. Saturdays. The center is closed Fridays and Sundays. More information is available online at, the group’s Facebook page or by calling (814) 229-1231.

Spirit of giving

Precious Paws Animal Rescue in Franklin received a special donation for Christmas.

“It was Christmas for us today. We had a trailer donated to us for use during events, and rescue efforts. Thanks to Chris and Carie at Tom’s auto and the donor. This will provide additional storage and reduce the number of vehicles needed for our rescue efforts,” Theresa Wiggins Weldon posted to the group’s Facebook page on Dec. 18.

Precious Paws can be reached by phone at (814) 671-9827 or by email at More information about the group and its low-cost spay/neuter program, SNYP, can be found online at or on the group’s Facebook page.

Finding homes

The Venango County Humane Society’s Facebook page was filled with happy news as canines Jaxson, Jolly, Kessel and Rowdy and felines Remi and Nosey all were adopted.

Folks can checkout other adoptable animals at the Seneca facility.

The shelter will be open from noon to 3 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 31. It will be closed on Sunday, Jan. 1. It will be open regular hours from noon to 5 p.m. Monday, Jan. 2.

The humane society is open from noon to 5 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays. It is located at 286 S. Main St., Seneca.

More information on the Venango County Humane Society is available by calling (814) 677-4040 or online at

Getting gifts

Tri-County Animal Shelter in Shippenville received some much needed supplies.

“Mrs. Weaver’s fourth grade class from North Clarion Elementary chose not to do a gift exchange this year. Instead they wanted to donate to our rescue! Look at the wonderful donations they gave for our cats and dogs,” the shelter posted on Facebook.

There was also a post about an anonymous donor who left supplies outside the shelter.

The shelter will be closed on New Year’s Day. It will open its public hours on New Year’s Eve.

Tri-County is located at 9562 Route 322, Shippenville. More information about Tri-County Animal Rescue Center is available on its Facebook page, by calling (814) 918-2032 or emailing


(All About Animals is a weekly blog that appears on and Interested persons or groups can submit information to Readers may also submit photos or stories of their animals to More information about the blog is available by contacting Anna Applegate at 814-677-8364.)